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Philately in Russia, Part 1
February 20, 2015 14:43

Philately in the Russian Empire

Origin of philately in Russia was closely connected to printing of the first Russian stamps (1858) and envelopes (1845). Some of the Russian stamps were highly appreciated by collectors in the 19th century. Thus, a 6-kopeck stamp for western correspondence issued in 1863 was estimated at 100 DM, whereas a 5-kopeck envelope of the Moscow city mail of 1846 was 1000 DM worth.
Unused rural (Zemstvo) stamps were also highly valued: stamps of the latest issues were paid for 3 to 5 times more than their real price was. Rates of stamps of more remote issues grew up in geometrical progression. Dealers asked 400 rubles and more for some stamps of the first issues. The reason for high value of unused rural stamps was that nobody thought of collecting them in the 1860s. Used stamps were much cheaper, though stamps of the first issues were expensive as well. 
Rural stamps were highly valued by foreign philatelists. Several books about the Russian rural (Zemstvo) stamps were published in the French and German languages. The book Description of the Russian Rural Stamps, Envelopes and Parcels (Kiev, 1888)  authored by D. Chudovsky was also very popular.
Russia's first show of post stamp collection took place in the framework of the Polytechnical Exhibition in Moscow in September, 1872. The collection was prepared by the Post Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
Philatelic societies appeared in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities of Russia in the late 19th century.
F. A. Breitfuss founded the Moscow section of the International Philatelic Society on October 10, 1883, and its St. Petersburg section in December of the same year. The Moscow section existed till 1898. In March, 1907 the St. Petersburg section was transformed to the Russian Society of Philatelists, which became the first All-Russian philatelic organization.
Besides, the Moscow Society of Stamp Collectors was founded in 1883. By its 10th anniversary the society had 26 members and a brochure telling its history was published.
From November, 1895 there existed the St. Petersburg (Russian) Branch of the German Philatelic Union. The St. Petersburg Society of Stamp Collectors was founded on its basis in August, 1906. The monthly journal World Post published by the society enjoyed wide popularity among philatelists. It was published with the circulation of up to 800 copies, which was enormous for the philatelic periodical press of that time.
the first philatelic journal of Russia, The Stamps came to be published in Kiev from 1896. The Philately journal was monthly published in St. Petersburg from December, 1913 till the end of 1917.

Author: Vera Ivanova

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